Intercom’s Product Principles: Building solutions that fit the bill

It’s easier to make things people want than to make people want things. From starting with the problem to taking ownership of what ships, focusing on the right areas can make all the difference in crafting a useful solution that actually solves your customers’ problems.

At Intercom, we value principles over processes. As we’ve scaled, we’ve distilled and fine-tuned the foundations that shape what we build and how we build it. Principles tell us where we should focus, how we make decisions and move forward as a team, and help us consistently build great products at scale. And that’s exactly why, earlier this year, we started a series dedicated to exploring the reasoning behind each one. We’ve tackled eight of them since – from keeping it simple and delivering outcomes to being technically conservative and following design fundamentals. And today, we’re going to explore two more.

For starters, our Product Designer, Eugenia Ortiz, explains why designers should take ownership of what they ship, even after launch. That way, not only does the customer get the best solution possible, the designer gets to continuously learn, iterate, and improve the design:

“Rather than just passing off our designs to the engineers, we work with the team at every stage of the production process. We collaborate constantly, communicating, gathering their feedback, making tradeoffs, reducing ambiguity, and iterating if necessary. There are no big handoffs or surprise reveals”

We’ll also hear Director of Product Management Stephen Forbes talking about how spending a large chunk of time prioritizing and defining a problem before moving on to building a solution ensures that it properly reflects and addresses customers’ needs:

“Most companies will spend the majority of their time designing and building the solution, then releasing a beta to their customers. We believe that is a flawed approach, too heavily skewed towards building solutions based on weak problem comprehension”

Looking for a little more? Check out more episodes of our podcast here. You can follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or grab the RSS feed in your player of choice.